The UN’s High Commission for Refugees recently launched Tracks, a Medium-esque collection of stories on refugees and aid workers.
The collection of twenty-four stories documents the impact of UNHCR’s work in distressed communities and conflict zones across the planet; everything from themes of migration, education hope and faith to places as far flung as Angola and Syria. The focus is very deliberately on Syria, with most of the collection tilting towards the unfolding displacement of millions of its citizens. The collection is an affecting illustration of “the human costs of conflict in a way that is easy to grasp and impossible to ignore” and a useful fundraising tool – the ultimate purpose of the collection.
It does however pursue a heavily curated and journalistic perspective, rather than harness the voices and narratives of those in each story. Perhaps by encouraging connections and dialogues to be formed amongst the people and places involved, valuable new perspectives and debate could emerge. A narrative architecture of participation would benefit these stories – is it possible to codify empathy and serendipity in narrative?
Tracks is nonetheless a deeply human experience. If Pararchive can enable its users to create experiences such as this (or the Uralla Story Project), augmented by tools for participation and serendipity, then we’ll have succeeded.
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